How to Keep Property Outside of an Estate
When a person dies, it is generally necessary to account for assets in his or her estate. Generally, probate is a public process, and it may be possible for others to challenge the validity of a will or other instructions left by the deceased. However, it may be possible for assets to be held outside of an estate, which means that they aren’t subject to probate.
Hold Assets in a Trust
When property is put inside of a trust, it becomes the property of that trust. As a trust can never die, there is no need to probate the assets inside of it. In addition to avoiding probate, trusts may provide greater tax efficiency as well as leave assets for children or grandchildren who may not be born yet. It is important to note that assets must be titled in the name of the trust to make this strategy an effective one.
Name a Beneficiary
Those who have investment accounts, bank accounts or retirement accounts may want to name a beneficiary to those assets. When the owner of the account passes, the beneficiary automatically receives the right to take control of it. Generally, the beneficiary only has to show a valid death certificate to complete the account transfer.
If a person chooses to name a beneficiary, it may be worthwhile to review that designation over time. This is because a person could get divorced, get remarried or otherwise experience a life event that may alter his or her preference to receive an asset.
Estate Planning Should Be an Ongoing Process
Estate planning is something that should be done on a regular basis throughout a person’s life. Ideally, individuals will talk with an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas every year or two or as events warrant. In addition to reviewing estate plan documents, an attorney may be able to help draft a trust or make changes to existing documents if necessary.